Wilderness Green Metallic, Moonroof Package + Keyless Access and Start + Navigation System + EyeSight ($2,990 -- includes auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and Homelink; power one-touch moonroof; keyless access and start; 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen GPS navigation system; HD AM/FM radio with radio broadcast data system; single-disc CD player with MP3 playback; SD card slot; voice-activated controls and navigation; Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone connectivity; iPod control capability; iTunes tagging capability; dual USB ports; SMS text messaging capability; Sirius/XM satellite radio with Sirius/XM NavTraffic (subscription required); 3.5mm auxiliary input jack; Harman Kardon 12-speaker system with 576 watt amplifier; Subaru Starlink smartphone integration featuring AHA infotainment, Pandora, iHeart Radio and Mirror Link; EyeSight driver-assist system with stereo camera radar technology and featuring pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure and sway warning and adaptive cruise control; steering-responsive foglights)
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
175 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
174 @ 4,000
Continuously variable with six-speed manual mode with steering-wheel-mounted paddles
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
We found the Outback responds reasonably well to being held in place on the brakes (called "power-braking," wherein we have our left foot on the brake and right foot on the throttle prior to launch) before accelerating. This was worth about a half-second in terms of its 0-60-mph time. This size vehicle is crying out for either a turbocharger or a six-cylinder engine. It feels labored and underpowered as is. While the car is very quiet at idle, it's conversely rather loud during max acceleration.
With a soft, long-travel pedal, this Outback stopped from 60 mph in our simulated panic test with consistency (varying by just 2 feet across four stops), but also with SUV-like nosedive and a little bit of side-to-side wiggle.
Steering response is slow, the suspension allows significant lean and the combination of these two means the car is reluctant to transition from one turn to another in rapid succession (as in our slalom test). Furthermore, the Outback's nondefeat electronic stability control system (ESC) is sensitive to quick steering inputs and/or mid-corner corrections with the steering. The smoothest, most precise driver input was the most rewarded/least "corrected" by the ESC. On the constant corner of the skid pad, we found the ESC "off" mode (where we suspect it merely defeats traction control, leaving stability control intact) lets the Outback lean heavily on the outside front tire that it begins to skid and lose its ability to turn the car. With ESC on, the car would reduce the throttle automatically before this point to maintain a consistent arc. Steering weight was light and didn't seem to vary much with speed.